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Deauville celebrates U.S. pix at own pace

Walken tribute added after Stone's withdrawal

DEAUVILLE — It would take Mussolini to make the screenings, tributes and press conferences in this quaint French town run on time, but sometimes the delays can be a show in themselves. Clad in tattered duds, star Johnny Depp took the time to patiently sign dozens of autographs on his way from his seat to the stage to introduce “Blow.”

This year’s parade of all-Yank pics painted a diverse portrait of the U.S., from getting laid (“American Pie 2”) to getting snuffed (“Bully”), prompting locals to ask again and again, “Are Americans really like that?” Most of the competition pics got high marks from festgoers, with “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” a particular success. Producing honoree Joel Silver positively beamed at French intimations that he might just be an artiste in addition to being a successful producer of slick action pics.

Uncontested artiste Stanley Kubrick’s glowing reputation was reinforced by a complete retrospective, capped off by the docu “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures” and the French preem of “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.”

Luxuriating in his recent honor as a French Chevalier of Arts and Letters, Michael Cimino — recepient of the fest’s literary prize for his first novel, “Big Jane” — introduced fest honoree Julianne Moore, who praised the French for their “incredible appreciation for cinema and love of actors.” World preem of Bart Freundlich’s “World Traveler,” starring Billy Crudup and Moore, was warmly received by auds and crix.

World preem of Bill Bennett’s Burt Reynolds starrer “Tempted” capped a mini-retrospective of Reynolds’ work, while Mark Rydell’s sensitive, made-for-TV biopic “James Dean” played beautifully on the bigscreen, and Dominique Forma’s “Scenes of the Crime” proved a sneaky delight in its little-heralded world preem.

Although Oliver Stone was forced to cancel his trip to Deauville, a tribute to Christopher Walken was added, to much acclaim.

Public attendance at 27th edition of event was hearty, with Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Andy Garcia, Elizabeth Hurley, James Franco, Bijou Phillips, Tilda Swinton, Mena Suvari, Haley Joel Osment, Shannon Elizabeth and Saffron Burrows among the thesps on hand.

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